“Temporarily moonlighting from her current occupation of mother-to-two, Karen Andrews is going to talk about two of her favourite subjects: reading and blogging. If you’d like to read more of her work – with perhaps a bit of talk of bodily functions and toddler antics included – you can find her at www.miscmum.com“
I don’t play poker well, so I am going to show my hand early: I like to think I know a bit about writing and reading. ‘Hang on, so do I!’ may say you. Certainly if you are blogging, you already know the importance of content, of exacting the best of your knowledge and putting it out in the bloggersphere, hopefully to be respected and successful.
But are you doing this at the expense of reading? Does it even matter? I think so, and so does Francis Bacon,
‘Reading maketh a full man’
Reading is an education
Before you start squirming, believing I am going to offer a teaspoon of icky medicine, consider this – education is increasingly being seen as a commodity: something you buy and discard. It’s less Dead Poets Society than it is ‘How to get perfect grades’. Knowledge isn’t retained. We’ve forgotten what we learned at school as soon as the bell rings for summer.
Blogging can change this. You research; you search for the right words. You recognise your audience and their needs. In a way, you are becoming an educator yourself so isn’t it important to be the best you can be? Further, wider, reading can improve your grammar (an area most of us are unsure about, let’s be honest) and expands your vocabulary. If you recognise various types of writing style or authorial voice, you are less likely to imitate them. Because the point is to develop your own, isn’t it? There’s nothing more frustrating for a reader than a self-conscious writer.
Take a look at your blog. Are you overly apologetic? Do you always sit on the fence? Is your language bland? Do you overuse graphics and photos to compensate for language failings?
Tip: Read a blog you admire, and pick a post you particularly like. Imagine the author sitting at the keyboard and forming the keystrokes as they type. This is an adapted exercise many writing students are asked to complete (usually substituting keystrokes for pen strokes) in order to get a sense of rhythm and pace.